Caley Buxton didn’t fear death, in fact she made jokes about it and even welcomed it. Last year during the height of the pandemic she asked, “What is it that is so great about the earth that everyone wants me to stay?” As she said in her Christmas video, “I can’t wait to see Jesus!” If you truly believe in Heaven as she did, she has a point.
From early January 2019, Caley knew that she wouldn’t live a long life, but that certainly did not stop her from living a full life. She had received many awards and accolades during her young life from being a Salutatorian at D’Evelyn High School, to graduating Magna Cum Laude at CSU in Physics and graduating with a Master’s in Medical Physics from Duke University. She also had what many would call a dream job right out of college when she became an actual rocket scientist at Lockheed Martin.
None of those achievements fulfilled her the way writing her recently published book, Behind and Before or her passion to show kindness to others did. She wrote thousands of thank you notes to her friends and acquaintances. And during the last weeks of her life, she was determined to personally thank all her old friends and the new friends that she met while being treated for cancer. Two weeks before she died, she fully participated in a celebration of her life where over 20 people joined on only two days’ notice in person and over zoom. One friend flew in from Houston for the day just to see her. Caley shared a special memory about each individual, reminding us all of some of our happiest memories. Her friends and family also created videos to tell Caley the things that they appreciated, admired, and loved about her with a major focus being her bravery concerning life and death.
Caley was born on August 19, 1988, in Denver, Colorado and is survived by her parents and her older sister, Heidi, who as a nurse was the go-to person for direction for many of her health issues. When Caley was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she met Dr. Acharya with UC Health in Highlands Ranch, Colorado who has been her trusted oncologist and great comfort throughout the ensuing years. Contracting breast cancer made Caley determined to make a difference in the cancer fight, so she resigned from her job at Lockheed Martin and was accepted to Duke University’s Medical Diagnostic Imaging program. She said, “Why should I care about rockets going to other worlds when I can make a difference right here?” Caley was determined to make the task of diagnosing cancer easier for oncologists like Dr. Acharya. At the time of her graduation from Duke, she was involved in trials designed to create a non-invasive way to perform biopsies using the same x-rays you already receive at the dentist.
When cancer returned in late 2018, Caley completed her studies from her home in Denver, while volunteering as a tutor in many subjects, including her beloved physics, and performing the final edits for her book. Caley died and went to be with our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ on May 31st, 2021. In our world that seems to fear almost everything, Caley faced down her impending death with cheerfulness and bravery. And had you asked her why she was so confident in her future, she would have told you that she knew that Jesus was preparing her home in Heaven with galaxy décor and many, many cats.
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